Back In High School

NYC wife Alex weighs in on the challenge, and reveals what she was like in high school.

Interesting episode. On our show, Jill Zarin always likes to say that we’re all back in high school, even if I don’t actually agree with her. I for one am about 200% more mellow now than I ever was then, mostly to do with age and having become a parent. Back then I was a condescending little brat behind a veneer of sweetness and light. In everyone’s faces, president of everything (except Student Body – I ran for that and lost) and superior to everyone else. Remember a movie with Reese Witherspoon called Election about 10 years ago? Yeah, that was me. Never got caught skipping class because I’d stolen a pack of permits to leave the building.

I was excited to see the clique exercise, very happy that the assignment was random and thought many came up with great t-shirts. My hands down favorite was Anna’s goth shirt – I loved the detail in the back and was happy to see it incorporated in her look later on. Daniella’s shirt was great too. I liked the simplicity of Johnny’s, but had a little whiplash with Haven’s – a little too much going on there but I loved her slogan. The only problem with Angel’s t-shirt was the application of musical notes.

Moving on to the elimination challenge, I had to agree with the judges for the bottom two. Everyone but Johnny and Angel really captured the essence of their clique. Lidia’s outfit was cute, chic and adorably nerdy – I really liked the navy & red combo. Anna’s outfit was hot. Just hot. I loved it and would happily buy that off the rack. I’m on the fence about Reco’s look, but probably letting my personal taste get in the way because I rarely go for frilly things. While I love Shakespeare and miss performing it, I always thought Romeo and Juliet were melodramatic morons who should have taken a breath and planned their escape better. Liked the asymmetrical skirt a lot and the plaid over white was definitely a dramatic choice. Daniella took a risk with the hood, which is a good thing, but ultimately it didn’t seem wearable or practical off the runway – a little too intense.

Out of all the looks this week, the ones I would most like to wear were James-Paul’s and Haven’s. I loved JP’s yellow and black, the “polo player” look of it and thought it could go straight into a Ralph Lauren boutique with minimal adjustment. I have a ton of black-on-black Plein Sud in my closet and thought immediately of that line when watching Haven’s look come down the runway – I’d happily do that whole look as-is, including the hair and boots.

Merlin hit a home run this week, and it was particularly poignant that he won at a point when he questioned himself and seemed to hit a wall. (Though I have to be jaded for just a second and wonder whether his mini-meltdown happened in the same time-frame.) The mean girls outfit was fabulous, and I was only sorry to see that the jacket isn’t available for purchase as that, to me, was the crown jewel of the look. Really great work, and perfectly evocative of the clique.

Was it just me, or did it seem as though Charlotte Ronson didn’t speak much? She seemed sleepy. Regardless, we’ve come to the bottom two looks. Johnny may be a great designer, but his attitude really sucked again this week. Nothing in the world annoys me more than whiners, and both Johnny and Angel succumbed to that this week. If you don’t like your assignment, rise above it. If jocks bug you, find a fashionable way to make fun of them. Don’t just give up, as I felt Johnny did. There’s no shame in not knowing the term applied to a clique. I’ll be honest and admit that when I heard “B-Girl,” I thought rap but wasn’t sure – nobody dressed that way in my high school either despite loving the music. Hell, I have Hot 97 on my favorites in the car but you’d never call me a B-girl. Although shut off from the world and unable to do research, Angel was able to ask around and find out that the look should come from hip hop. It is entirely possible to go to high school without b-boys and b-girls. It is not, however, possible to exist in the 21st century without knowing what hip-hop fashion looks like. I liked the puffy jacket and thought that piece was hip-hop enough. The pants didn’t move, and b-girls have to be able to move. The shirt wasn’t particularly evocative either. Take the jacket and put it over wide leg, low slung trousers with a tank underneath and she mightn’t have been out this time. With the memory of that fantastic white shirt dress still lingering, I know Angel will do well.

This week’s blog has been a great break, as Simon and I are madly editing our book manuscript which is due Monday – nice to stop writing about kids and focus on clothes for a bit! See you next week….

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